Criminal charges against Gota
* Avant Garde
*Lanka Hospitals Limited
*Lanka Logistics and Technologies Ltd.
Criminal charges are to be filed against former Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, for flouting government tender procedure and for the purchase of four MiG 27 Flogger D fighter-bomber aircraft in 2006 at a staggering US$ 14,676,000, for failure of duty and causing loss to the State, in his capacity as the Chief Accounting Officer of the Ministry of Defence.
The agreement was entered into, without a performance bond and the vital End User Certificate are the main charges, after a Technical Evaluation Committee ruled against the purchase in 2000.
Top sources said, the former Defence Secretary was questioned on the rationale behind the purchase, overturning a previous decision in a manner detrimental to Sri Lanka, the buyer.
The contract contained a stipulation that the End User Certificate be issued to a third party, Belimissa Holdings, a London-based company not registered with the British Ministry of Defence. Belimissa was authorized to collect the payments on behalf of the seller, Ukrinmash, a subsidiary of a Ukrainian State company named, UKRSPETSEXPORT of Ukraine. "The former Defence Secretary is the officer responsible for the purchasing of life-expired aircraft in violation of procurement procedures and the failure to forecast financial loss to Sri Lanka, through that purchase," a top source said.
A team of sleuths visited Ukraine last week to conduct offshore investigations, with the assistance of the Ukraine authorities and are currently following the money trail, authoritative sources added.
Meanwhile, Investigations into the Avant Garde floating armoury matter has led to the initial conclusion that the defence establishment headed by then Defence Secretary Rajapaksa could be charged on two counts; illegal storing and trading of arms and money laundering.
The third investigation nearing completion, according to top sources, is the alleged share manipulation at Lanka Hospitals Limited, initiated by the Special Presidential Commission to investigate Large Scale Corruption and Fraud by a consultant surgeon. The said complaint had alleged that Rs.600 million was paid as a commission to two top guns during the Rajapaksa administration, under the directive of Chairman of the Lanka Hospital, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.
The complaint alleged that a share manipulation took place in 2011 and within three days, Lanka Hospitals share price shot up from Rs.42 to Rs.84, and charges included serious violation of government financial procedure. Based on a complaint by a Defence Ministry official, a probe has been initiated into the alleged corruption within Lanka Logistics and Technologies Ltd, on the procurement of arms and ammunition, in in violation of national procurement guidelines.
"The initial inquiry has shown that several low quality purchases have been made at a higher price. Multiple cases are to be filed against, based on the strength of the investigations conducted, including the purchase of 32 mm rockets for Dvora seacrafts, from a British company at £ 32 million, overlooking a lower offer made by an Israel company at US$ 18.2 million.
Gotabhaya Rajapaksa last week obtained an interim order, after the Supreme Court granted Leave to Proceed on a fundamental rights petition, preventing his imminent arrest.